When most people think of anime they picture giant robots fighting, spaceship battles and martial arts series aimed at young boys. But anime is much more than that. There are many shows and movies that are aimed at females, shows that are slower paced and more thoughtful. Someday's Dreamers is one of them.
Set in the present day, Someday's Dreamers is the story of Yume Kikuchi, a young girl who travels to Tokyo from her home in the country. Being unused to the crowded city, she has trouble crossing a street with her suitcase. A young boy offers to help her and carries her bag across. Unfortunately Yume trips and falls just as a speeding car rounds the bend. The bystanders can only gasp as the car races toward the girl, but suddenly the speeding car, and half a dozen others, are flung up 100 feet into the air. The cars hover in the air for a second before they start plummeting to earth. Yume mutters "Gently, gently...." and all the vehicles touch down softly. Yume is a mage-in-training, and is setting off to meet her instructor.
In this world magic is normal, but rare. People with the talent for magic are registered with the Mage Labor Bureau. There are rules they must follow about how, when, and under what circumstances they may use their powers. Yume is going for her month long training on the rules and regulations of magic use.
Her trainer turns out to be a young handsome man who runs a night club. She stays in an empty room above the night club and starts learning what she needs to know to become certified. The conflicts in the series are not world dominating demons or invading space armadas. It comes from Yume trying to figure out how to best use her powers to help people.
The story is very well paced. It is not hectic and fast like much anime is, but deliberate and gentle. The tone is subtle but not boring or dull. The easiest comparison would be to Kiki's Delivery Service. This show is very reminiscent of that movie, but it's not a clone or copy. Someday's Dreamers has tone and voice all its own.
The animation for the series is absolutely gorgeous. From the heat rising from a sidewalk, to the steam coming off of a fresh pizza, the creators went to the trouble of animating many small details. It adds to the sense of realism that the show has.
The audio is also very effective in the show. There are a lot of background noises in the city, which can drop away to nothingness in a split second, grabbing your attention. The incidental music is placed well, and accents the plot.
Going into this program, I was not sure that I would like it. There is a lot of anime that is aimed a girls that doesn't do much for me. But this show had me hooked from the opening sequence. I quickly found myself interested in Yume and her training. The show has a happy feeling to it without being sappy. The great animation and sound support the strong wonderfully.
This DVD gives you the option of listening to the show in the original Japanese or an English dub. Both are in stereo. There are removable subtitles for the signs in the show, and an English translation. For the purposes of this review, I viewed the shows in their original language with English subtitles. I did some spot checks on the English dub, and it seemed very comparable to the Japanese track.
The sound is very clear and crisp. The slightest background sound
was easy to discern. The music would often start of softly and swell
over the course of a scene. It was very effective technique and added
a lot to the feel of the show.
Presented in its original aspect ration of 1.33:1, the transfer on this DVD is nothing short of gorgeous. As mentioned above, the attention to small details gives this animation a realistic feel. The colors are slightly muted, as was probably intended, to mimic reality. The lines are clean and there was no noticeable evidence of compression artifacts. A very good looking DVD that raises the standard for quality animation.
This disc included a textless opening and closing, as well as the Japanese text version of the opening and closing. I have never been that keen on textless openings, but I know a lot of people like them. As for the Japanese versions, they were an interesting addition, but nothing that really excited me.
The music video to The Indigo's closing credit song, Under a Blue Sky was interesting though. It's four minutes long and does not contain clips from the show. It's a live action short that I enjoyed.
There are also trailers. I usually jump to the trailers first,
hoping to find a new show I haven't encountered yet. I was disappointed
in the way Pioneer did the trailers for this disc. Instead of having
a menu of trailers that you can select from, there is just one three minute
segment with the trailers linked together. They were in Japanese
with no subtitles, optional or hard, available. The trailers were
for Sakura Wars: The Movie, Mao-Chan, and Card Captor Sakura,
The Movie 2: The Sealed Card.
This was a very enjoyable show. The pacing was just right, not too slow, and not to frantic. While the action was very subdued, it still had a lot going on. A good DVD to check out if you are tired of giant battling robots. Fans of Kiki's Delivery Service who are looking for something with a similar feel might want to give this disc a spin. Highly Recommended.